Living in a movable home

In the last months an idea has been creeping in the back of my head. It all started when Seven told me about his dream to build a free tea truck. His vision was to live in a transformed boxtruck while serving free tea to random people on the street, bringing people together and encouraging conversations and connections between strangers. The teatruck would be a movable home and free tea kitchen giving out a cuppa to anyone as long as they stay to drink it. There would also be a “gift and take box” where instead of money, people could  offer their skills for free or contact others whose skills they needed. I loved the idea instantly and thought I might visit Seven to help him build it or at least travel around with him for a while, but did not really consider the idea as a realistic option for me yet.

Then, about a month later, I met Ricki from Leipzig. She lives in an old UPS bus she bought and built herself with little money and time. In summer she travels around a lot to different festivals to work there while the rest of the year she lives with other people on a trailer site. What she told me about her life in a bus sounded amazing and got me thinking again. Could this be something for me? I’m living off of my savings at the moment so this would be the perfect time to invest money in something I’m passionate about without getting worried about money and time. I started thinking about pros and cons. The first obvious pro would be being able to move my home around and also taking it to festivals (I can already see myself driving crazy art installations to Nowhere), but I also realized that this could save a lot of money on rent. This would mean having to work less, especially when I start my psychotherapy training. On the downside I hate driving – but is that reason enough to keep me from living in a bus? I guess I could get used to driving again and I know I am not horrible at it. I am also completely new to constructing stuff, but usually I enjoy creative challenges and Ricki already gave me lots of tips where to get help. There is also tons of inspiration on the internet. The biggest challenge would probably be to find a suitable bus before I run out of time and money. I guess I will try and if I can’t find a bus in time maybe it wasn’t meant to be. On the upside Ricki has good contacts in the community and will inform me whenever someone wants to sell.

The last but most important realization I had about living in a bus is that I’d need to get rid of a lot (!) of stuff. Maybe this will be easier after living out of my backpack for months. I’m sure I’ve already forgotten about half of the stuff I own. But still I am very attached to my stuff (especially my huge collection of vintage dresses). There are also things I would not want to live without: an oven to bake cakes, a comfy bed and chillout space, a place for my sewingmachine and craft supplies… but none of these seem impossible with a bit of planning. Maybe this whole living in a bus plan will just stay a dream, but who knowns? Maybe I’ll be living in my tiny movable house soon…


3 thoughts on “Living in a movable home

  1. Pingback: Samaipata the beautiful hippie trap | letters from the road

  2. So this made me think back on my previous life on a canalboat… and about how I got there in the first place… what you’re describing now is that urge I felt then. It’s weird how you sometimes forget why you did a thing in the first place, the experience of doing it wipes out the memory of that imagined future.
    I remember travelling on a boat in London – and thinking back to how much I really like boats. That ability to navigate the space normally un-navigable. To glide past the fools on the land, with the fish and ducks for company… and then the idea of living on that water and being able to take my home with me! To never be tied down to one location, if I moved cities I wouldn’t have to “move house”, just take a couple of weeks holiday, and move the actual house.
    So I dutifully found a boat I could rent (after my parents persuaded me out of buying a boat… here it’s really easy to buy a boat, and really hard to sell one) and moved my stuff into it, after getting rid of a massive amount of things I didn’t need. And it fit! 17m x 2m narrowboat is not so bad, and especially with some organisation you can totally get everything on.
    It was a much more outdoor life – there was a thin panel of steel between me and the outside world, so even when you were inside you were very connected with the sounds and weather outside. Frikking awesome in thunderstorms. I never got surprised by the temperature when I exited… if it was cold or hot I knew well before the door. Easy to heat, but time- and brain-consuming to run a stove constantly. You had to set it just right or it would go out when away from the boat, and relighting it would take an hour before it gave decent heat.
    I think the one thing that killed it for me though was the space. Yes you can live without lots of the stuff you have, but it is a *different* life, and not necessarily more enlightened. Creativity takes space, and mess, and things like for example building a massive puppet for the theatre, I wouldn’t be able to do if I didn’t have a squareish empty room that can be its area for the few weeks it takes. I was always restricted in what I could do. Day-to-day was fine (a bit awkward but once you had your way it worked), but special projects were really difficult or impossible, and that made me sad.
    So, totally do it! But leave yourself a way out…


    • Wow – I didn’t know you once lived on a boat. Such a hippie 😉 Interesting to hear about what were the ups and downs to this style of living to you! Next time we meet in person you’ll defnitely have to tell me more about this! To be honest I don’t see myself living in a bus until retirement, but I would love to try it especially at this time in my life where I haven’t really found “my” city yet and know that I will likely have to move around a lot in the next years. (Un)fortunately old busses are a lot easier to sell than buy in Germany so the bigger issue is actually finding a suitable bus and adjusting it according to my needs – I am curious how this plan will turn out for me… But for now I am excited about my plan and hope that I can realize it.


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